Did someone help Brian Jones become a member of the 27 Club?
The co-founder and original leader of The Rolling Stones died more than 50 years ago, but the question still haunts many rock fans — Did he accidentally drown in his backyard pool or did someone help him become a member of the 27 Club.
Brian Jones died on July 3, 1969, at the age of 27, joining (most famously) Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and others.
Jim Morrison also died on July 3rd.
Jones’ body was found to contain high levels of drugs and alcohol and the coroner ruled the case “death by misadventure.” But the guitarist’s Swedish girlfriend, Anna Wohlin, claims he died after a fight with his bodyguard Frank Thorogood who Jones had reportedly fired earlier that day. She said the truth was covered up to protect the band’s image.
Thorogood was also accused by two rock writers of killing Jones by holding his head under water in the pool. The writers documented their findings in “Paint It Black: The Murder Of Brian Jones” by Geoffrey Giuliano, and “Who Killed Christopher Robin?” by Terry Rawlings. The title of the latter refers to Jones’ house which was formerly owned by “Winnie the Pooh” creator A.A. Milne.
Thorogood, a builder who was doing some work on Jones’ house, allegedly killed the musician in a fight over money — Thorogood had been paid £18,000 for the work but wanted another £6,000. The killing was covered up by senior police officers when they discovered how badly local police had botched the investigation.
Thorogood, who died in 1993, reportedly confessed on his death bed to the band’s former chauffeur and “fixer” Tom Keylock, a World War II paratrooper.
More recently, when police reopened the case ten years ago, Keylock himself became a suspect, if not in the killing itself then covering up the crime. Keylock often referred to Jones as a “pain in the arse.” But there was still no hard evidence linking either Thorogood or Keylock to Jones’ death and the case was again shelved.
Keylock was never formally interviewed by the police. He died in London in 2009 at the age of 82 — the last living player in the half-century mystery. We will never know what happened that night in the pool in East Sussex.